For the past three seasons, the South Carolina Gamecocks had very little to worry about at the quarterback position. That’s because Connor Shaw held that spot, making big plays, playing through injury and leading the Gamecocks to one of the most successful runs in the history of the program.
But Shaw is now gone and head coach Steve Spurrier may have to put a little more time into the quarterback position. However, Spurrier does have Dylan Thompson returning to be the signal caller this season.
Thompson, a redshirt senior, has seen quite a bit of playing time during his career in Columbia. Thompson has played in 21 games over the past two seasons, including three starts in place of the injured Shaw.
During his sophomore season in 2012, Thompson made a splash, completing 66-of-127 passes for 1,027 yards with 10 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Last season, Thompson was 52-of-89 through the air for 783 yards, with four touchdowns and three interceptions.
As a senior, Thompson will be the most important player for the Gamecocks. The season could literally ride on how well Thompson performs. If it’s the Thompson from 2012, Spurrier and the Gamecocks will not have any issues. But if it’s the inconsistent Thompson that showed up last season, there could be worrisome days ahead in Columbia.
The Gamecocks will give Thompson plenty of help. The South Carolina defense, despite significant losses, should be really good in 2014. And the offense has running back Mike Davis to help carry the offensive load.
But if the South Carolina season rides on the shoulders of one player, it’s Thompson.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.